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Nebraska AG Disputes Legality of Football Postponement in Letter to Big Ten

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIISeptember 11, 2020

Gates leading into Memorial Stadium are padlocked, in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. The Big Ten won't play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports' power conferences to yield to the pandemic. The move was announced Tuesday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Nebraska's simmering feud with the Big Ten over the conference's decision to postpone fall sports has reached the state's attorney general.

According to ESPN's Heather Dinich and Paula Lavigne, AG Doug Peterson, a 1981 Nebraska graduate, has sent a letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, questioning the conference's compliance with state law and "requesting all documents and information pertaining to its decision to postpone the 2020 fall sports season."

The move follows news of eight Nebraska football players filing a lawsuit against the Big Ten to invalidate the league's postponement and award damages to the plaintiffs. 

Peterson is now challenging the Big Ten's cooperation with Nebraska's Nonprofit Corporation Act, accusing the conference of operating within the state while failing to maintain registration. 

The AG has also requested access to all meeting minutes of deliberation among the university presidents and chancellors, all documents that show their decisions about the 2020 season were properly approved, all documents that relate to the financial impact of the league's decision and all "information, opinions, reports and statements" that the presidents and chancellors used to reach their decisions, per ESPN. 

"In order to receive the advantages to operate as a nonprofit organization in Nebraska, it is imperative that the organization operate with complete transparency regarding its decision-making process," Peterson said. "Nebraskans expect transparency from nonprofits operating in this state, and the Big Ten Conference is no exception."

Big Ten chancellors and presidents voted 11-3 to postpone the season on August 11 with only Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa objecting. 

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Warren has stood by the decision since and announced there would be no reversal until the conference's return-to-play committee discovered a safe route forward as they look to resume college sports amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance and advice from medical experts," Warren wrote on August 19. "Despite the decision to postpone fall sports, we continue our work to find a path forward that creates a healthy and safe environment for all Big Ten student-athletes to compete in the sports they love in a manner that helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protects both student-athletes and the surrounding communities."